Sometimes getting your child to sit down and focus on homework can be difficult. We’ve all had to play the role of a homework enforcer, when our kids wanted to do just about anything besides homework. Don’t you wish you could make homework an enjoyable and relaxed time, rather than a chore that is dreaded by both kids and parents alike?
To make homework time a little easier, we’ve come up with a list of 10 tips that will help instill a love of learning and improve your child’s focus.
1.) Set a homework schedule and be consistent. Kids need structure. They will be able to focus better if there are established times for them to do their homework. Be flexible regarding when your child is able to focus best; some concentrate best in the afternoons while some are better in the evenings after dinner.
2.) Make sure you have a dedicated, homework-friendly area. A quiet, well-lit area with school supplies will help limit distractions and encourage your child to remain concentrated on the task at hand.
3.) If they ask for your help, offer guidance, not answers. They won’t learn if they don’t think for themselves and make mistakes. Too much help can teach them that when things get tough someone will give them the answer. Try making suggestions, going over directions, or reviewing a method for finding the answer.
4.) Be positive. One of the best ways to encourage your child to do their homework on their own is to be positive about schooling in general. Give encouragement, post well done assignments on the fridge, talk about achievements with your family and friends. Your kids will adopt the attitude you have towards homework and learning, so make it a positive one.
5.) Do your homework with them. When your child sits down for their homework time, show them that it’s an important part of life by doing your own homework. Perhaps you have some bills to pay while they are doing math homework or you need to catch up on some reading while they are reading. Show them that the skills they are learning are important as an adult as well.
6.) Help your child create a homework plan. It will be easier for your child to focus when they can track their progress. Help them look at the homework they have and break it up into different areas of study and by difficulty. Have them tackle the hard assignments first and move on to the easier ones when they finish. Encourage breaks if the homework is going to take more than an hour (a fifteen minute break every hour is a good starting point).
7.) Provide healthy snacks. A hungry child is going to be fidgety and unattentive. If your kid is doing their homework before dinner make sure they have something healthy to snack on that will fuel their body and mind until dinner.
8.) Give them space. Leave your child to work on his or her own. This will help them develop the independence they need with the comfort of knowing you are around to help if necessary.
9.) Know the teachers and what they are looking for out of homework help. Get to know your child’s teachers at school events like Back To School Night or Open House, and ask them how you can and should be helping with your child’s homework.
10.) Make homework fun! Children usually don’t like to do homework because it’s boring. Make homework fun by turning it into a game or incorporating rewards. Use treats or pennies to do math homework and let your child keep what they solve correctly. Know what motivates your child and reward them for completing their work with a little fun time – maybe that’s you reading to them, letting them watch 20 minutes of TV, or playing on your iPad.
We hope you find these suggestions helpful. For other parent tips, subscribe to our blog.